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When purchasing a Louis Vuitton one must know what they are looking at.

Listed below are several tips to help identify an authentic Louis Vuitton.

It is important to be familiar with the style you are looking at.
-What lining does this bag normally have?
-What does the hardware normally look like?
-What does the stitching normally look like?

There are however some exceptions to this also including items made under contract by The French company to be sold in department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, vintage pieces with Eclair zippers, and special edition pieces.
These are some of the questions you should be thinking of. Remember Louis Vuittons are finely crafted and should not have signs of obvious defects or feel cheaply made as they only use high-quality materials.

One of the key telltale signs of a counterfeit bag is an authenticity card. Louis Vuitton has never issued such cards. One of the key things you should look at is the date code. While this is often confused as a serial number it is actually a code listing the factory which tells us the country of origin followed by numbers which tell us when the particular piece was manufactured. This format has changed several times over the years with some date codes being just three numbers with no indictor of the factory, and some being up to two letters (occasionally a letter and number) indicating the factory along with 4 numbers indicating when the piece was made. An exception to this is Hard luggage such as the Bisten where the numbers don't correspond to a date or place of manufacture but is in fact its own distinctive serial number. However, there are still several ways to determine the era of production, one of which being inspecting to see if labels are still intact.

Like anything, there are always some exceptions. Some people believe that just because there is no date code the piece is automatically fake. This is not true and there is in fact a number of reasons why this might happen.
Another misconception is that all Louis Vuitton items are made in France. This is not true. Louis Vuitton uses factories all around the world including Spain, France & USA for leather goods and select other countries for other items such as Switzerland for some of the watches or Italy for eyewear.

1. Date codes can sometimes be hard to find and you might not be looking in the correct spot. Often even the exact same bag model can have the date code in several different places.
2. You are looking at a vintage item that was manufactured before the 1980's when date codes were first implemented.
3. The date code has worn off or become illegible over time.
Remember having a date code of lack thereof is not a definitive sign of authenticity or non-authenticity but merely one of the many things that have to be taken into account when assessing a Louis Vuitton Piece.

One of the main ways to ensure you are getting an authentic pre-owned piece is to buy from a reputable seller or enlist the help of a professional authentication service and get their opinion before moving ahead with the purchase.